the Science Behind Symposium

Mentorship Experience

Over the past decade and a half, Procter & Gamble has hosted more than 200 prominent dermatologists in Cincinnati, OH for a two‐day summit called the P&G Science Behind Symposium (a.k.a. Dermatology Technology Symposium). Through this valued partnership, P&G and SOCS brought together top health professionals with leading industry scientists, researchers and marketers to inspire collaboration, innovation, and scientific exchange.

We have received wonderful feedback from the events:


“This was a fantastic opportunity to gain an in-depth look not only into common dermatologic conditions, but the process utilized to research, develop and manufacture products that help our patients so much. I was impressed by the level of scientific evidence used to create products that meet the needs of our unique patient populations and the commitment to deliver high quality products that serve as solutions to many problems patients face. The entire symposium was well-constructed and they not only provided us with information, but carefully listened to the thoughts and perspectives we bring as clinicians. I would highly recommend this symposium to colleagues and those in training, as I was able to further connect with my mentee and network with other wonderful physicians across the country.”    Janiene Luke, MD 

The Procter & Gamble Dermatology Technology Symposium was a unique and fascinating experience that I feel privileged to have been able to attend. Thank you, Skin of Color Society and Procter & Gamble for this opportunity!
A series of educational lectures was given by the company’s leading researchers. One of the most eye-opening parts of the symposium was learning about the ongoing research behind the scenes to perfect each of their products. Furthermore, the products are extensively analyzed by consumers to assure customer satisfaction. We learned about ingredient safety and choice from one of their toxicologists. We even got to tour their labs where their scientists were at work testing their hair products on human hair, with all types represented! After learning about the rigorous process the products undergo prior to being released to the consumer, I will never look at another P&G product the same!

One of my favorite aspects of the symposium was visiting the P&G archives. It was fascinating to watch how everyday products we use in our households have transformed over the course of decades. We saw the first bar of Ivory Soap, first Gillette razor, first Pamper’s diaper, and so much more!

Finally, with the opportunity to witness the company dynamics behind the scenes, it was obvious how invested the employees were in the industry. Many of the employees come from a family rooted in the company with several generations employed by P&G. There was a clear familial atmosphere that tied the scientists and P&G employees together. There was also a sense of responsibility amongst the scientists and researchers to engineer the most effective and safest products to address the needs of consumers of all races. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this Symposium!” Melanie E. Tawfik, MD, PGY-2 Resident Physician, Department of Dermatology, Loma Linda University



“The symposium was fascinating.  We couldn’t stop taking notes.  It was a privilege to receive updates from researchers and marketers about the scientific insights, strategies and cutting-edge techniques being used to develop the products that come into contact with people’s skin and hair every day.  Additionally, it was wonderful to share experiences and insights with colleagues from all over North America.”

Drs. Heath, Okereke, and Strachan

“In the lectures and discussions that we had with scientific leaders, we learned about the process of product development—discovery, craftmanship and performance. All ingredients are there for a reason and must be shown to have the anticipated effects. We learned about the scientific techniques and knowledge driving the process, including genetic information, used to develop strategies to select ingredients that target the particular physiologic processes involved in sun damage, wounding, hair and scalp care, and skin aging. P&G is looking to personalize their products for greater efficacy by looking at the “different needs of multi ethnic populations including skin of color.”

“The safety of products to the consumer, as well as to the environment, were also discussed. In addition to discussing issues of tolerability, how a product was evaluated with respect to cancer, reproductive harm and biodegradability were addressed. We were also educated about many resources available to help our patients address these concerns.”

“The tours of the various research facilities were especially informative. We learned about the latest technology used to do research from genetic analysis to 3D printers. The company is the world’s largest purchaser of real human hair. We were able to tour the collection. Of note, we learned about some of the challenges of acquiring curly/kinky textured hair for research purposes. In addition to seeing the latest technology, there was even an opportunity to see technology that is no longer in use. Having been in the industry for over a century, P&G was able to share insights in how product research has evolved.”

“One of the highlights was learning about the history of P&G, a company in its third century, that has had impact beyond skin and hair care product development. We learned how they developed and repurposed technology to be able to solve a variety of problems which resulted in changes in society that we take for granted today. Disposable diaper technology was transferred to garbage bag development. Aside from more personalized skin and hair care development directed by science, P&G has developed products like the first laundry detergent, Tide, credited with allowing women the ability to join the workforce in increasing numbers by reducing the hours needed to tackle household chores. It was also fascinating to learn how deep the commitment to reaching the public has been when we learned that the company developed the soap opera as a vehicle to market to consumers—and they even have an Emmy Award.”

“We are appreciative to P&G and the Skin of Color Society for making this amazing opportunity possible.”

Candrice Heath, MD, Uchenna Okereke, MD, Dina D. Strachan, MD.


Drs. Sodha, McKinley‐Grant, Elbuluk, and Taylor

“The symposium was terrific. Crystal Harrell, Communications Sr. Manager at Procter & Gamble, was an outstanding hostess and organizer. For two days, we were exposed to the cutting‐edge research that P&G is doing on skin and hair. All the talks were very interesting and each minute was filled with something interesting (it was non‐stop). The lab tours allowed us to observe the latest in instrumentation. We were all particularly interested in the work that is being done on the skin of color population.”

“A couple themes that stood out:

  • industry approach to solving a complex problem involves breaking the problem into smaller questions
    and hypotheses that are rigorously tested for all people, including skin of color, though new
    understanding about genetics is helping.
  •  we sometimes forget that technology is ever evolving to better address the pitfalls of the past, and we
    must consistently engage with our industry partners to learn about these evolutions so we are better
    advisors to our patients.”

“The employees at all levels had ownership in the company and spoke of Proctor and Gamble as ‘we’. Each
speaker worked in areas they were passionate about and personalized their products by using the personal
pronouns ‘she and he’. Health care corporations, dermatologists and all health care providers could learn a lot from P&G human resources. The P&G staff all had a sense of ownership in the history of the company, its present, and its future.”

“It was a wonderful opportunity, and we are grateful to SOCS and P&G for allowing us to be part of such an educational and enriching program. We hope it will open doors to further collaboration and communication in the future.“

Nada Elbuluk MD, Lynn McKinley‐Grant MD, Pooja Sodha MD, Susan Taylor MD

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Did You Know

Skin of color patients comprise the majority in California, New Mexico and Texas…and soon will be the majority in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, New York and Florida.

By 2042, more than 50% of the US population will have skin of color.